Night of Inspiration 2017
Oh What a Night!
Honorees and Stories of Recovery Shine Brightly at Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation's "Night of Inspiration"
November 15, 2017 - The Paramount Country Club in New City was an exquisite vision in red and black on November 9th, as Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation hosted its stellar Night of Inspiration fundraiser. As its invitation touted, the evening's red carpet was not meant for movie stars, but the shining stars who were the recipients of the organization's Helen Hayes MacArthur Rose Award. The event proved to be one of the most successful in the organization's history, raising over $90,000 to pay for essential programs and equipment at Helen Hayes Hospital.
The cocktail hour was hopping, with guests mingling and enjoying delicious passed hors d'oeuvres as Daisy Jopling played the electronic violin and danced around the room. And as the doors to the dining room opened for the dinner portion of the evening, the overall sentiment was 'breathtaking'.
But clearly, the highlight of the night was the inspirational video biographies that introduced each of the evening's honorees: Neale Kuperman, Leonard Kurz, Patricia LeGeyt, and Jeffrey Cohen all had the crowd on their feet with standing ovations.
Last, and certainly not least, was Lee Woodruff, author, mentor, and co-founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, who spoke passionately about her experience with traumatic brain injury. She proudly highlighted the common denominator of all the honorees' stories when describing their experiences at Helen Hayes Hospital – the feeling of hope that is evident in all that is achieved at the hospital. One of Ms. Woodruff’s books, 'In an Instant', was given to each of the attendees and Lee was kind enough to personally sign copies during the cocktail hour.
"There are transformative moments in people's lives, and listening to our honorees speak, in particular Jeff and Steve Cohen, is something that I know we will all carry with us," said Executive Director Marci Kurtz.
You can view each of our honoree addresses on HelenHayesHospitalFoundation.com. Take a look and be inspired!
The Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation, Inc. raises money to pay for programs, equipment, education and other needs of the Hospital that are not available through traditional funding. Over the past five years alone it has granted over a half a million dollars for various projects including the Smart Apartment and specific diagnostic and adaptive sports related items, The Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization. For more information about the Foundation, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit helenhayeshospitalfoundaton.com.
As co-author of the best-selling book “In an Instant”, Lee Woodruff garnered critical acclaim for the compelling and humorous chronicle of her family’s journey to recovery following her husband Bob’s roadside bomb injury in Iraq. Appearing together on national television and radio since the February 2007 publication of their book, the couple has helped put a face on the serious issue of traumatic brain injury among returning Iraq war veterans, as well as the millions of Americans who live with this often invisible, but life-changing affliction.
They founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation to assist wounded service members and their families. To date, the foundation has raised more than $45 million to help veterans successfully reintegrate into their communities and receive critical long-term care.
Woodruff has been a contributing reporter for “CBS This Morning” and “Good Morning America.” Her best-selling book “Perfectly Imperfect – A Life in Progress,” was followed by her first novel “Those We Love Most,” which became a New York Times best-seller and won the Washington Irving Book Award for fiction.
A freelance writer, Woodruff has penned numerous magazine articles about her family and parenting. She ran her own marketing consulting business for 16 years after leaving the PR agency world in New York, Washington DC and San Francisco.
At present, Woodruff lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and four children.
2017 Award Recipients
At the age of 29, Jeffrey had a heart attack and massive stroke. He was in a coma , sustaining fevers of 107 degrees. Doctors offered no hope and his parents, Steve and Christine, were asked to sign a Do Not Resuscitate Order. The prognosis was dire. But they were not giving up on their son. Jeffrey’s parents turned to Helen Hayes Hospital.
Steve Cohen attributes his son’s recovery to the doctors, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists who were all part of the rehab team at Helen Hayes Hospital “They never gave up hope.” And neither did the Cohen’s.
With the “Power of Rehab” at Helen Hayes Hospital Jeffrey walked out of the hospital with a walker just seven weeks later!
Neale A. Kuperman
Neale A. Kuperman, former President and face of Rockland Toyota in Blauvelt, New York started in the automotive business in 1972, working in his family’s dealership. Kuperman went on to represent the Metropolitan New York’s franchised new car dealers
on the Board of Directors of the National Automobile Dealers Association, served as the Chairman of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association as well as serving as a Board Member of the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation. Neale joined the Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation Board in 2010 and became the Executive Vice Chairman in 2011.
Neale will say that aside from his two children and six grandchildren, he is most proud of helping to raise more than $600,00 over the six years that he chaired the Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation Golf Outing.
His enthusiasm and commitment to the Helen Hayes Hospital and the Foundation has earned him the “Spirit Award” and our gratitude.
Leonard Merrill Kurz
Mr. Kurz serves as a director and officer of the Kurz Family Foundation. He played a significant role in establishing two endowed professorships at Brooklyn College; the Herbert Kurz Chair in Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties and the Herbert Kurz Chair of Finance and Risk Management. He has been a founder and moving force in various not for profits helping children, supporting education and social justice issues.
Mr. Kurz was awarded “Philanthropist of the Year” by the Rockland Development Council in 2016 and most recently received an Honorary Degree from Rockland Community College in 2017. He has been a major supporter of Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation and in particular, the donor and creative force behind the Herbert and Edythe Kurz Accessible Playground, named in honor of his parents.
Patty Le Geyt, RN, BSN
Patricia Le Geyt, RN, BSN joined Helen Hayes Hospital as a staff nurse on the pediatric unit in 1989. She went on to manage the Employee Health department before being promoted to Staff Development Coordinator where she was instrumental in providing education and professional opportunities ensuring competence and excellence in nursing care. She served as the Associate Director of Nursing at the hospital and more recentlyas Chief Nursing Officer. Patty, as most of us know her, currently resides in Stony Point and is the proud mother of Mark J. LeGeyt Jr., Operating Engineer Local 14 NYC and Kristen M. LeGeyt , RN, BSN Pediatric ICU at Mount Sinai Hospital NYC. When asked what inspires her the most Patty responded, “The past 28 years have been challenging and exciting. It is an honor to be surrounded by such dedicated professional. Miracles do happen at Helen Hayes Hospital and being a part of that is truly humbling.”
Night of Inspiration 2016
Diana Williams is an award-winning television journalist and anchor at WABC, with a personal connection to traumatic brain injury. In 2015 her son Nat, a Captain in the USAF and an F-22 fighter pilot, was severely injured in a motorcycle accident, breaking numerous bones in his body and suffering both internal bleeding and traumatic brain injury. Nat has spent many months in recovery, with many more ahead. Diana has taken to social media to share her son’s progress, shining a spotlight on the remarkable caregivers who have helped further his recovery, as well as focusing on the challenges people with traumatic brain injury face on a daily basis.
2016 Award Recipients
Over the past 28 years, Dr. Glenn Seliger has earned
the respect, admiration and affection of patients, families, caregivers, peers and co-workers at Helen Hayes Hospital, and beyond. As the Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Service, Dr. Seliger is charged with caring for the physical, mental and emotional needs of patients and families confronting life’s most challenging and devastating events. He does so expertly, and with the greatest of care and compassion.
A farmer and quiet philanthropist, Niles was a passionate supporter of Helen Hayes Hospital and a founder of the Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation. Niles lived by his favorite Winston Churchill quote: “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” The Jan and Niles Davies Learning Center for preschool children at Helen Hayes Hospital is a testament to his generosity and compassion, and we will forever be grateful for his immense contributions.
Elaine became involved with Helen Hayes Hospital in the late 1990’s after her husband, Frank, was a patient here. A longtime resident of Tarrytown, Elaine would refer to us as “the hospital across the river that took such good care of Frank”. Aside from being a major donor to the Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation, Elaine has given back in many other ways. As a member of the HHHF Board of Directors, Elaine has worked on numerous Galas, Golf Outings and has shared her interior design expertise as a passionate advocate of the opening of Helen’s Hope Chest.